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Powell River broombusters on mission to eradicate alien invader

No matter what’s going on in the world, broom is going to bloom.

We’re talking about the invasive plant species scotch broom which has taken over huge areas of the Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, and the entire Pacific Northwest.

This year, the Powell River broombusters have a few big projects planned, including in the Manson connector above the Penticton trails, and the Wildwood Bluffs near Gibsons Beach, to name a few.

Powell River fire chief Terry Peters is the local broombusters coordinator. He said scotch broom is not only an alien plant invader, it’s a fire starter.

“Broom is such a flammable plant, and it’s just awareness for invasives all around,” he said. “Because it’s not just necessarily about broom, this is the season when it’s best to cut it when it’s in bloom, or if with large plants, with what’s being done on the highways right now, so we’re getting an early jump on it.”  

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He says as the plant starts to come up, you’ll see a bright yellow flower. That, he said, is the time to chop it.

Peters said the goal in Powell River is to eradicate scotch broom within the next decade.

“Mind you, it’s a very big goal, but certainly within the city limits and maybe the highways and that sort of stuff where we can (cut it), so we don’t end up like places like Sechelt and Gibsons, where the stuff has just gone crazy,” he added.

He says the Powell River group has been successful, along with their Vancouver Island counterparts, in receiving a provincial grant for cutting along the highway.

That allowed them to pay locals $16/hr to take out scotch broom.

“We hired some local people, so they are out there cutting because the Ministry of Transportation has given a grant to the whole broombusters organization,” he said.

Moving forward, if you want to volunteer to help cut the broom, you can provide your contact information to Peters via email at [email protected]

For more on the local broombusters, click here.

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